Barber charged with drunken driving

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 9, 2011

By Shavonne Potts
MOUNT ULLA — Rowan County Commissioner Jon Barber was charged Sunday evening with driving while impaired after authorities said he was involved in a single-vehicle collision not far from his home.
Barber, 51, of 335 Umberger Road, Mount Ulla, was also charged with failing to maintain lane control.
Barber was found by the N.C. State Highway Patrol about 5:30 p.m. on Graham Road, at N.C. 150.
According to a report by Trooper M.T. Eason, Barber was “unsteady on his feet, had a slight odor of alcohol, his speech was slurred, had difficulty understanding instruction and performed poorly on the standard field sobriety test.”
Barber refused a field breath test and was taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center to have blood drawn for testing, an arrest warrant said.
It may be months before results are known.
Since he refused a breath test at the scene, Barber’s driver’s license was automatically revoked for 30 days. He was issued a written promise to appear in court while at the Rowan County Magistrate’s Office. He was no longer listed as an inmate in the Rowan County jail early today.
He will have a first court appearance Wednesday.
Barber, who is currently being investigated by the SBI, is accused of taking a $2.99 bottle of wine from a local convenience store.
A police report said the investigation involves a bottle of wine stolen around 6 a.m. April 10 — a Sunday morning — from the Rushco store at 601 W. Jake Alexander Blvd.
The larceny of a bottle of wine is a misdemeanor.
In May 2010, Barber was suspected of showing up drunk in his sixth-grade classroom at Southeast Middle School. The next day he resigned from his teaching job.
Barber told the Post at the time he left the school early that day and told administrators he was resigning “to pursue other opportunities.” He has since begun farming in western Rowan.
Barber pleaded guilty to driving while impaired in June 2008 after being found in February of that year passed out in his car near the corner of Sherrills Ford and Long Branch roads. His blood alcohol content was .18, more than twice the legal limit of .08.
County commissioners can only be required to resign if convicted of a felony. Driving while impaired is a misdemeanor.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.